The Wilmington High School senior class officers, Class Advisor Matt Geggie, and the WCS staff have been hard at work for weeks, planning multiple ways to honor the Class of 2020 in the midst of a pandemic.
The discussions started when it began to be apparent that the school year was not going to end the way they anticipated. Mr. Geggie, along with a committee of staff, was tasked with helping to sort through all of the ideas that were presented and help the group to come up with a plan that met the following:
1) Honor the WHS traditions that seniors look forward to;
2) Truly celebrate this class and recognize their accomplishments in memorable ways; and,
3) Follow the guidelines set forth by the governor and the local Health Department. This was a big task and a difficult one, as Matt and Lisa Geggie are not just teachers in the district, they are also the parents of a WHS graduating senior.
When Matt first realized that they were not going to be able to hold a traditional graduation, he said that it was really difficult to wrap his head around the idea — as a parent and as a WHS teacher.
But in true Hurricane fashion, the class officers along with Mr. Geggie, WHS guidance counselors, and WCS administration all worked together to plan multiple ways to honor graduates.
They have incorporated traditions like the Senior Sign Blitz and added fun new twists to make it special. Along with placing the graduate sign at each senior’s residence, they will have a caravan of teachers drive up to cheer them on and present them with a goodie bag of special items donated by the community and organized by a parent group.
In addition to the sign blitz, seniors who have earned a special award or recognition will have an award night premiere on the WHS Facebook page on 5/18.
One of the most challenging events is the diploma presentation on stage. They felt it was important for seniors to have their traditional moment on stage.
In order to accomplish this they will have seniors sign up for a time slot for a photo op with their parents/guardians at the school May 18, 19 and 20. The staff will have the traditional Hurricane-style graduation stage set up and a professional photographer will be there to photograph each graduate on stage with their diploma and their parents — something that they aren’t able to do in a traditional graduation.
Each senior will receive a free photo from the school. This process will be no easy feat as WHS has over 200 graduating seniors!
The culminating event, the commencement itself, will be held as a Facebook Live Premiere at 7 p.m. on May 22.
WHS will be following their traditional commencement program in a special video event. Seniors and their families are invited to tune in to the WHS Facebook page where they will hear a speech from the class president, comments from administration, share a special moment to honor our military, hear the traditional reading of individual graduate names, and, of course, the official turning of the tassel.
After the premiere, the special video will be available on the school website for viewing as well.
WCS Superintendent Mindy McCarty-Stewart shared that she is extremely proud of this senior class and is excited about the plans for honoring them.
She said, “I know this is a difficult time for our graduating seniors and their families, and we have all struggled with the abrupt ending to their high school career.”
She said she is also extremely proud of the WCS staff and administrators.
“They have stepped up in numerous and extraordinary ways in the last six weeks to meet the needs of our students. From learning packets and food distribution to honoring our seniors in truly unique ways — they have demonstrated that now more than ever, we are Hurricane Strong.”
“While this graduation may look different than any of us could have envisioned, we will take this moment and turn it into one that honors and celebrates the achievement of the Class of 2020 in new and unique ways,” McCarty-Stewart said.